Prep girls basketball: Tigers look to veteran players for leadership, consistency
Six Tigers graduated, including all five of the team's starters, but coach Paul Eberhardt said the team has experienced players ready to fill their shoes.
Despite losing veteran players to graduation, the Northwestern Tigers girls basketball team will find a way to thrive, coach Paul Eberhardt said.
Six players — Karsyn Jones, Jayda Klobucher, Brook Ogren, Brecken Oswskey, Tayva Plasch and Kennedy Nelson — graduated.
Jones was a first-team all-Heart O' North Conference selection , who averaged 11.6 points per game, 3.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.7 assists. Ogren was a second-team all-Heart O' North Conference selection , averaging 9.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 2.1 assists per game. Klobucher was an honorable mention all-Heart O' North Conference selection , averaging 6.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
Even without the experience those players brought to the court, there’s plenty of excitement heading into the season.
“We lost six seniors off of last year's team including all five starters but [we] could have as many as seven seniors on this team. We have four girls back with meaningful varsity experience," Eberhardt said.
Tieryn Plasch, a sophomore, was honorable mention all-conference as a freshman off the bench. Tieryn Plasch is one of the best players in the conference and the area, and was the team's second-leading scorer last year, Eberhardt said.
Luoma, a senior, averaged 6.5 points per game and 4.9 rebounds off the bench. Eberhardt said he expects Luoma to be a focal point and leader for the team.
Sletten, a senior, averaged 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds off the bench. She can play a range of positions and is noted for her intensity, Eberhardt said.
Altman, a senior, averaged 2.4 points. Eberhardt said he expects Altman to make a big jump as a senior, having been forced to make way for the team’s veteran guards last year.
Tieryn Plasch hopes to capitalize on her ability to attack the hoop and be a leader. She said she knows this season will come with a few major obstacles.
“Obviously COVID protocols and procedures,” Tieryn Plasch said, “[but also] having an inexperienced team [with us] losing six seniors.”
Senior Allison Luoma said she looks forward to excelling at getting to the basket and showing her versatile play. Luoma agreed that COVID would be an issue on everyone’s mind, and said this season will be a test of leadership for her.
"Stepping into a more focused role as a senior leader [will be a challenge]," Luoma said.
Despite his confidence in his team, Eberhardt said they will still have tough teams to face in the Heart O' North conference and need to be ready for the arrival of St. Croix Falls.
Eberhardt described the Saints as "the team to beat."
“They have a really good opportunity to get to state," he said.
In addition to promising results, Eberhardt said he feels the Tigers will be an entertaining team to watch with a high energy squad that can thrive on offense and defense.
“We will spread the floor on offense and play hard and press on defense. We will use our depth and intensity to wear teams down," he said. "We have a great group of young ladies that will work very hard.”
Northwestern opens the season Thursday, Dec. 3, against Cumberland. Tip-off is set for 7:15 p.m. in Maple.